By Deb Bixler
Do we still need to have printed business cards in the digital age?
It is a question worth answering as business cards cost money. With work at home business consultants tightening their financial belts, is the cost of printing business cards still a legitimate and necessary expense for a direct sales business?
The answer to this question is an emphatic â€œYes!â€
Why Business Cards Are Still A Necessity
Most everyone owns a smartphone and many people have simple apps that allow for the easy storage of contact information. However, not everyone has a smartphone and many people do not know how to correctly use their phones to store and retrieve information beyond a phone number. Business cards often contain different pieces of information. Phone numbers, a fax number, a business description, an email address, a physical address and other pertinent pieces of information are often printed on business cards.
Entering all this information into a smartphone takes more time than most people are willing to invest when they meet a new business contact. Handing a business card to someone is fast and painless.
Though we are gradually becoming a paperless society, people still want to hold on to our paper-oriented world. Until a completely digital generation has replaced the old school paper addicts, business cards will remain an important part of networking and business meetings. If someone asks for a business card, you do not want to be the one person to reply, â€œI don’t have one.â€ Not having a business card lessens your credibility and reduces the chance that you will make a rewarding business contact.
People still look through their snail mail and they still notice business cards sitting on their desks or tucked into their wallets. This is not likely to change for at least a generation. Without a business card, you will be the one left behind when trying to promote your business or service.
How to Make Your Business Card Stand Out From the Crowd
Make your business card stand out from the crowd and serve as a dynamic and beneficial marketing tool.
Business cards should be printed on paper that has a nice feel and look.
The paper should be a bit thicker than normal with some texture.
The color should stand out and be pleasing to the eye. Both sides of the card should be used, though the majority of information should be on the front side.
Since cards no longer have to fit into a Rolodex, experimenting with different sizes and shapes can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.
The direct sales business is highly competitive and business owners need to use every tool available to attract and keep more clients.
Though business cards may someday become a thing of the past, they are still a relevant and beneficial tool for business owners. Until our society is completely paperless, business cards are a necessity in the business world.
by Rosemary O’Neill
Social profiles have gotten a lot of tweaking in the past year.Â Have you kept up with all of the updates?
Todayâ€™s the day to roll up your sleeves and get it done.
Hereâ€™s a handy cheat sheet:
1. Twitter header
A few months ago, Twitter started including a photo header at the top of your profile.Â It should be a graphic 1252 pixels wide by 626 pixels tall, maximum size of 5MB.Â You can easily change it by going to your Twitter profile settings page.Â Here are the details straight from Twitter: https://support.twitter.com/articles/127871.
2. LinkedIn company page header
Not to be outdone, LinkedIn now allows you to have a profile header for your company page.Â The graphic should be a .png, .jpg, or .gif no more than 2MB.Â Size recommended is 646 pixels wide by 220 pixels tall or larger (you can crop on the page). Hereâ€™s a handy video on setting up a company page: http://youtu.be/WiTQL_M_fv0.
3. Facebook cover photo
You should already have this one nailed, but just in case…your Facebook cover photo should ideally be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall, and under 100KB (for fastest load time).Â Here are Facebookâ€™s recommendations: http://www.facebook.com/help/125379114252045/.Â Remember that Facebook frowns on calls to action or overtly promotional content within the cover image.Â Itâ€™s intended to be a compelling photo or graphic, not a banner ad.
4. Pinterest business pages
Your favorite slack-time hangout just put on a business suit.Â If your business is suited to graphic imagery, or you want to flex your creative juices, you might want to create a business account (or convert your existing personal account, if youâ€™ve been using it to support your business). Learn all of the details from the Pinterest announcement: http://blog.pinterest.com/post/35710687813/new-tools-for-businesses-in-the-pinterest-community.
5. Your own site needs some tweaks
When is the last time you spiffed up your own blog or home page? Do you have a widget on there from last yearâ€™s conference? Take 10 minutes and look at your own site with a newcomerâ€™s eye, or have a friend look—a refresh might end the year on a high note.
6. Update your avatar
Iâ€™ll step forward and say â€œguiltyâ€ on this one.Â My avatar is from a favorite photo that was taken 7 years ago.Â Ouch.Â Itâ€™s time to cowboy up and get a new picture taken.Â How old is your avatar?
7. Forum signatures
If you participate in online communities around the web, you probably have customized forum signatures in some of them.Â Usually these are appended to the end of your posts, and include a favorite motto, sometimes a link to your site, or your bio information.Â These can get totally forgotten in the day to day hustle.Â Take a moment today and fix the broken links, update your job title, or breathe some new life into your forum signatures.
8. Stop procrastinating on Google+
I know, it involves â€œcodeâ€ and it seems really tricky (it sortof is).Â Many posts have been written about how to implement the author tag for Google+, but the best one I found (and the one that actually worked for me) was this step-by-step from Social Media Examiner: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-author-tags/.Â Do this one today.
If you systematically go through and complete these 8 minor tasks, youâ€™ll get a bounce into 2013 with a fresh face to the world.
Do you regularly advertise through in-house means on radio and television, through newspapers, and via your social media opportunities? Do your employees spread the word to help promote your business? Or, even though it can be more expensive, do you get a well-known figure to promote your brand?
If you are practicing the latter tactic, you are not alone. In fact, more and more companies are using celebrities to help them spread the word.
Even if you only watch television or peruse the Internet on a limited basis, you have likely seen some of the following ads over the last year:
* Peyton Manning promoting Papa Johnâ€™s Pizza with owner John Schnatter;
* Charlie Sheen promoting DirectTV;
* Danica Patrick for GoDaddy.com;
* Betty White touting Snickers;
* Norm Macdonald promotingÂ SafeAuto.
While celebrity advertising is certainly nothing new in this day and age, it has become more prevalent given the mass reach of the Internet not only in the U.S., but worldwide.
Whether large or small, businesses have the opportunity to put a face behind their brand and tell both current and potential customers why their product or service is second to none.
As you might expect, it oftentimes comes down to advertising budgets, something the smaller business doesnâ€™t always have much of. In those cases, it may involve finding a well-known figure who actually uses the product to go in front of the camera or the radio to promote it.
If you are a smaller business and your advertising dollars are stretched, the big question then becomes can you get the celebrity to consent to their likeness being used in the ad?
The bottom line is that celebrity endorsements give the impression that the individual uses the product or service they are promoting. If it is discovered the celebrity does not actually use the product or service and still promotes it, does a companyâ€™s brand suffer as a result?
If you plan on using a well-known figure to promote your brand going forward, consider a few items:
* Does the individual have mass appeal to a wide range of consumers?
* Does the individual come with any â€œbaggageâ€ that may dissuade consumers from touting your product or service? Such cases can be where the celebrity has said something negative, had a run-in with the law, or is viewed as not relevant at the time;
* Does the individual meet your budget needs? If not, you may be able to come to an agreement where they will take less for an advertisement in return for something beneficial to them.
In todayâ€™s world, a companyâ€™s brand is its heart and soul.
Before you get a well-known figure to promote what you have to offer, look at the big picture, identifying whether that individual is going to brand your business a winner or loser.
Photo credit: adnews.us
Â Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites.
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